What inspired Geetanjali Khanna, Founder & COO of Fastudent to venture into education e-commerce?
"We wanted to come up with a solution that will make education a happy experience for all concerned. Hence was born the idea of Fastudent - the only education dedicated e-marketplace for every learning need!"
Geetanjali Khanna, Founder & COO, Fastudent tells us about her venture today.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am an engineer by education and a sports addict by nature. A valedictorian all across my academic years, I have always been very passionate about education and its touch points. Blessed to be born in a defense family, I experienced the ebbs and tides of educational institutes all across the country. Having worked with global retailers all across the world and witnessing the first-hand the influence of technology on retail chains across continents, education e-commerce came naturally to me. I had handled extended teams and revenues to the tune of 10 million USD along my career with Ernts & Young, Walmart and the likes.
The career choices and the people I met, made education e-commerce the entrepreneurial choice for me
How did the idea of Fastudent come about?
Fastudent is an idea born of out a flurry of experiences in and around me. Way back, during my boards, I recollect vividly the energies we all put in to get hold of our favourite reference books, sample papers and what not. As incredible as it many sound, many years later, I noticed the same musical chairs that parents and students face when it comes to academic needs. From as obvious as getting the authored book of choice, to choosing art supplies, be it testing their skills digitally or even choosing the best suited sports products. I empathized with the internet savvy student of today and took up the baton. We wanted to come up with a solution that will make education a happy experience for all concerned. Hence, was born the idea of Fastudent - zooming ahead as the only education dedicated marketplace for every learning need!
How long has it been since you started? What has the journey been like?
It’s been over 2 years of a roller coaster ride. We have pivoted, evolved and sprinted along with our users. We have a very dedicated set of repeat customers, where in W-O-M works like magic for us. What started as a one buy per quarter customer has evolved into a weekly buying cycle per consumer for us. We were 5 categories when we started off and now boast of a massive 32 categories covering every learning need of a student.
As an entrepreneur, what are your biggest challenges for a woman at the workplace and in terms of the business you are in.
Being a first time entrepreneur, every day has been a new lesson in my entrepreneurial journey. Coming from a corporate setup, the gender bias was not too evident. In fact, hiring fellow women employees was never an issue. Supply Chain management is one of the domains I take care of. It was quite an experience, dealing with the supply chain teams, which were still pre-dominantly male. From the logistic team members refusing to call me at late hours, despite a lingering crisis, to maintaining a continuum between various aspects of business like supply chain management, product development and customer experience.
What future plans do you have for yourself and the company?
Our focus is towards creating a global brand synonymous with student buying. We want to empower the student with our technological capabilities and give them a platform which promotes self-assisted learning. Our mission is to eliminate the inefficiencies in accessibility of education products for all stakeholders be it students, parents, academicians and institutions.
Fastudent will bring the best quality education products from the world to Indian students regardless of their geographical boundaries.
What differentiates your venture from other resource sites for students?
Fastudent is one of its kind and the only education niche platform which services the students with a focused and amalgamated approach to their respective institutes. With our strong foothold in education and e-commerce, we are servicing the complete student community all the way from Play Group to Post Graduation (PG to PG). Being India’s 1st DIY education e-commerce technology enabler, we conceptualize it in a way that one Fastudent could be split in multiple Fastudents to satisfy demands related to books, stationery, branded merchandise, digital learning , sports goods, art & craft and electronics for each and every educational institute.